Quick Facts

How acquired
Physical Impairment – Spina Bifida
Date of Birth
November 28, 1984
Highton, VIC
Accountant and motivational speaker
Started Competing
First Competed for Australia
Games Experience

Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012


Wheelchair racer Heinz Frei, Pat Rafter, Ian Thorpe, Tim Clarke

Career Highlights

Winning gold at Athens 2004 and London 2012

Greatest Moment

Winning his first Paralympic gold medal in the 800m at Athens 2004


Born with spina bifida, Richard Colman has always wanted to do the very best in everything he sets out to achieve. It turns out his very best is world beating and the track specialist has spearheaded the Australian athletics team for more than a decade.

In 2004 at the Athens Games, Richard took home the gold medal for Australia in the T53 800m as well as breaking the Paralympic record. His stellar Paralympic performances also included a silver medal in the 4x100m relay, which at the time saw Richard rise to the number one ranking in the world.

In Beijing, he won a silver medal in the 200m and a bronze in the 400m, which was just 0.6 seconds outside of world record time. Although these medals didn’t top the gold he won in Athens, competing in front of the huge Beijing crowds is among the highlights of his sporting career.

Richard warmed up for London 2012 by winning gold in the 800m at the 2011 IPC World Championships and silver in the 400m. He also dominated the field at the 2011 IUF National Championships, where he won three gold medals and one silver medal. In London, Richard returned to his career best form and won gold in the 800m as well as bronze in the 400m and 4x400m relay.

Born in Norway, Richard is passionate about all sports including AFL, basketball and swimming. He was the first wheelchair AFL goal umpire in the Geelong League and is described by friends as strong-willed and positive in everything he undertakes.

Citing his coach Mandi Cole as the most influential person in his career, the OAM recipient has changed his focus to longer distances. Having dominated in the sprints and with his muscles now maturing and better suited to distance events, Richard is now focussing on the marathon.

Following the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games where he won silver in the 1500m, Richard took a well deserved break but found himself back in action at his first marathon, the Sydney Marathon. While he wasn’t able to defeat wheelchair marathon king Kurt Fearnley, he used the competition as a way of building back up to full training.

In his break from training, Richard set more world records when he became the first person in a wheelchair to complete Bolivia’s Death Road, a 64km track which descends 3,500m.

Away from the track, Richard balances successful careers in accounting and motivational speaking and he spends his time coaching and mentoring new and developing wheelchair athletes.

Sports & Disciplines

  • Sport: Athletics Disciplines: 400m Classification: T53
  • Sport: Athletics Disciplines: 800m Classification: T53
  • Disciplines: 4 x 400m relay Classification: T53